5 things you may not know about the Madrid Derby

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5 things you may not know about the Madrid Derby

MADRID DERBY. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid rekindle their rivalry in another edition of the Madrid Derby.

La Liga

There is so much history between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, but here are five things you might not know about their much-awaited fixture

With the city of Madrid boasting two of the very best teams in Spanish and European football history, the capital city rivalry between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is an exciting and fascinating one.

There is so much history between the two teams, but here are five things you might not know about their much-awaited fixture on Sunday, May 8 (Monday, May 9, Manila time):

1. Atletico was formed in reaction to Real Madrid

A group of Basque students living in Madrid attended the first ever Copa del Rey final in 1903 between Bilbao’s Athletic Club and Madrid FC, the team that would go on to become Real Madrid. They disliked the way Madrid FC played, and 18 days later, created a Madrid-based subsidiary of Athletic… which would go on to become Atlético de Madrid. 

2. Atletico once went 14 years without a derby win, but it’s a very different story now

Between 1999 and 2013, Atlético de Madrid endured derby hell. It didn’t win in 25 meetings against Real Madrid until the arrival of Diego Simeone eventually changed its fortunes. Since that Rojiblancos victory, the derby balance has shifted; Atletico has won 9 of the 31 derbies played since then, while also drawing 11 and losing 11 (all competitions). The record in LaLiga Santander is 4 victories and 5 defeats in 16 derbies.

3. Atletico fans began the tradition of celebrating at the Cibeles fountain, not Real Madrid

During the 1970s, the tradition of celebrating titles with fellow fans of your team at certain points in the city began to emerge in Spanish football. The Cibeles fountain, located at the very center of Madrid, emerged as an ideal meeting point for such fans. Although it is closely associated with Real Madrid today, it was actually Atletico fans who first started to hold their celebrations there after a LaLiga title win in 1977.

Over time, other fans began to copy them and it became the fan meeting point in the city for title wins; throughout the 1980s, Real Madrid fans would celebrate the victories of the iconic Quinta del Buitre generation there. By the time Atletico won another title in 1991 – the Copa del Rey – Cibeles had become so closely associated with Real Madrid that its fans decided to move their celebrations 600 meters down the city’s Paseo de la Castellana avenue to Neptune’s fountain.

4. This used to be a bigger fixture than ElClasico

Today Real Madrid’s arch rivals is FC Barcelona, but the Madrid derby was a bigger deal in the first couple of decades after the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939. As the all-time great Alfredo Di Stéfano once said: “Forget Barcelona… the team that can frustrate us is Atletico.”

5. Nine of Atletico’s Copa del Rey wins have come at the Bernabeu

Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium is, funnily enough, a very special place for Atletico de Madrid fans. The Los Colchoneros have won the Copa del Rey on 10 occasions, with a remarkable nine of those successes coming at their arch rivals’ stadium. Of their 10 cup final successes, only the 1996 victory against FC Barcelona was held at a different ground: Real Zaragoza’s La Romareda. –

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